In order to achieve the ambitious Energiewende (energy transition) by 2030 the goals are clear: half of all electricity supply will come from renewable energy sources and coal use will be phased out by 2038. Nuclear phase out is on course for completion by 2022. Germany has been an early leader in offshore wind and solar PV and increased its targets with 20 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 40 GW by 2040, alongside investments in 5 GW of hydrogen by 2030. In its energy transition so far, Germany has maintained a high degree of oil, natural gas and electricity supply security. Planned nuclear and coal phase-outs are set to increase the country’s reliance on natural gas, making it increasingly important to continue efforts to diversify gas supply options, including through liquefied natural gas imports.
Germany is located in north-central Europe, estimated population is 83 200 000. Germany occupies an area of 357,022 km2. The nation’s capital is Berlin, the spoken language is German.
Germany is the sixth largest consumer of energy in the world and the country is the fifth-largest consumer of oil in the world. Oil consumption accounted for 34.3% of all energy use in 2018, and 23.7% of Germany’s energy consumption came from gas. Because of its rich coal deposits, Germany has a long tradition of using coal.
To date, Germany’s Energiewende is clearly visible in electricity generation, where it has been effective in increasing renewable electricity generation. While coal (mainly lignite) remains the largest source of electricity, renewables have mainly replaced a large share of nuclear over the last decade. In 2017, wind power surpassed both nuclear and natural gas to become the second-largest source of electricity generation. Most wind capacity is in northern Germany, whereas most demand comes from metropolitan and industrial areas in the south and west of the country. Due to increased generation from wind and solar, network constraints preventing transmission from the north to the south, delays in grid expansion, and the fact that Germany has only one bidding zone, northern states are facing power surpluses and southern ones are experiencing deficits, an imbalance that will worsen as the last of the country’s commercial nuclear power plants in the south and northwest close and wind comes online in the north. Connections to carry wind power from the north to the south are insufficient.
Beyond nuclear, the government also has a strategy to phase out the use of coal-fired power generation to help meet emissions targets.
Investment in energy infrastructure and energy efficiency is crucial to meet climate and energy targets. Further development of electricity transmission infrastructure is required in order to avoid financial losses and market distortions due to congestion and limited flexibility of the electric system.
Elevation ranges from the mountains of the Alps (highest point: the Zugspitze at 2,962 metres) in the south to the shores of the North Sea in the northwest and the Baltic Sea (Ostsee) in the northeast. The forested uplands of central Germany and the lowlands of northern Germany are traversed by such major rivers as the Rhine, Danube and Elbe. Germany’s alpine glaciers are experiencing deglaciation.
Germany is favoured with a generally temperate climate, especially in view of its northerly latitudes and the distance of the larger portions of its territory from the warming influence of the North Atlantic Current. Extremely high temperatures in the summer and deep, prolonged frost in the winter are rare.
Despite the country’s generally temperate climate, there are specific regional patterns associated with temperature, frequency of sunshine, humidity, and precipitation. . Germany’s northwestern and lowland portions are affected chiefly by the uniformly moist air, moderate in temperature, that is carried inland from the North Sea by the prevailing westerly winds. Although this influence affords moderately warm summers and mild winters, it is accompanied by the disadvantages of high humidities, extended stretches of rainfall, and, in the cooler seasons, fog. The mountains have a wetter and cooler climate, with westward-facing slopes receiving the highest rainfall from maritime air masses.
The German economy – the fifth largest economy in the world in PPP terms and Europe’s largest – is a leading exporter of machinery, vehicles, chemicals, and household equipment. Germany benefits from a highly skilled labor force, but, like its Western European neighbours, faces significant demographic challenges to sustained long-term growth.
Labour market performance remained remarkably strong, despite the marked slowdown in economic growth. While the risk of poverty or social exclusion continues to decline moderately, rising income inequality raises concerns.
Unemployment rate: 4.98% (2019 est.) 5.19% (2018 est.)
Germany has a dense network of communication facilities. Its geographic location in the heart of Europe also makes Germany responsible for facilitating the transit traffic serving neighbouring countries.
Since World War II the Rhine tributaries have been opened up for travel and transport. Navigation on the Moselle has been improved to the Saar region and Lorraine, on the Neckar to Stuttgart, and on the Main to provide a major European link to the Danube.
Germany’s major long-distance airline is Lufthansa, though there also are a number of other carriers that service European and North American destinations. Frankfurt’s airport, one of the world’s busiest, is the country’s largest. Airports in Düsseldorf, Munich, and Berlin (Tegel) are also of major importance.